Thursday, November 3, 2011

Finding Minutes for the Hours- Input Wanted!

Starting, or rather maintaining a Divine Office habit is not easy. Whether you say one hour of the liturgy or five, or seven, finding time is just plain hard. We don't have monastery bells calling us to prayer every couple of hours. And if we did, we'd often be unable to heed them, what with deadlines at work, crying kids, home repairs, car repairs, emergency trips to the store for whatever has been run out of, you name it. The time is there, somewhere, but one, it's hard to find, and two, once found it's hard to remember to consistently use it. Everything else clamors for our attention more forcefully than that quiet little prayerbook or prayer app. 

This is true of any kind of prayer or any kind of regular thing you want to do--read the bible, teach yourself piano, plan weekly menus, work out. 

I don't have any surefire advice to offer. Every new Remember-to-Pray gimmick works for a while, and then fades. One just has to try and try again until, after months or years of more or less succeeding, one starts to feel like something is missing if the prayer is left out. A few things that help include:

1. Your personal monastery bells: kitchen timer, cell phone alarm, a repeating  pop-up reminder on an email calendar. This assumes you will usually be in the locale of your bells.

2. Tie-in to another activity: Link your Office to some activity. For example, when the kids have left for school, sit down  and read morning prayer. Or at work: mid-morning prayer is what you do with your coffee break. Evening prayer might be done once dinner has been put in the oven, or directly after dinner while the kids clear the table. 

3. Leave the breviary (if you use one) lying around where you will see it. 

4. Start a blog about the Divine Office. You will feel pretty foolish writing about it if you aren't actually remembering to say it most of the time. 

Okay, now I want some better, more concrete ideas from the rest of you. How do you 1. find the time and 2. remind yourself? Which hours of the liturgy are easiest for you to get around to? Which are the hardest?